A BLISTERING century by Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke and a fine all-round performance by young Roman Walker were the highlights of Oswestry’s winning draw against Leamington Spa at the Stonehouse Oval on Saturday.

Clarke, who just 48 hours earlier had scored a superb, undefeated 177 at Trent Bridge to save the Pears from defeat, thrilled a large home crowd, basking in the afternoon sunshine, with some explosive hitting.

Following the dismissal of Joe Carassco for a useful 22, the England prospect laid siege to the Leamington attack.

When Warwick Fynn, who was in fine form for Shropshire in the week, was caught behind for an excellent 51, Clarke and his elder sibling Robbie added 145 for the third wicket as the Oswestry batsmen ran riot on a benign pitch.

The Clarkes’ century partnership was fittingly marked with a fly pass by the Red Arrows display team en route to the Marches School.

Clarke’s innings, which was not entirely chanceless, was caught on the long on boundary for a 122 by William Mashinge, off the bowling of Perry Derrick. He faced just 68 balls, scoring 10 fours and five sixes.

The Oswestry skipper followed his brother shortly afterwards for a well-worked 52, before Walker took control, scoring all round the wicket.

The 17-year-old once again showed wonderful timing, striking four towering sixes which disappeared far into the adjoining gardens.

Walker was ultimately caught on the boundary off the last ball of the innings for an impressive 65 as Oswestry posted a score of 356 -8, a record since their joining the Birmingham League 10 years ago.

Nabell Asghar was Leamington’s best bowler with figure of 3-103.

After effectively being batted out of the game, the visitors were soon in trouble, losing opener Chris Colcott to Walker, caught at mid wicket by Charlie Morris.

Walker, bowling with real fire, then snapped up a further three wickets and at 68-5 Leamington appeared well on the road to defeat, but overseas professional Mashinge had different ideas, as he and Mathew Payne put on 84 for the seventh wicket.

Oswestry continued to chip away, but the flamboyant Mashinge continued to counter-attack. The Zimbabwean was to be crucially dropped at mid on as he approached his century. It was a routine catch and defining moment in the game and with it, went Oswestry’s hopes of victory.

Leamington’ s last wicket pair of Mashinge and Matthew Davidson batted out the last nine overs with few alarms. The visitors’ late order batsmen played with spirit, helping their side to pick up nine valuable points after being completely out-played for much of the game.

Mashinge finished unbeaten on 120 of 130 balls with Walker (4-49) the pick of the Oswestry bowlers. Rituraj Singh gave it his all, but could not deliver the killer blow, returning figures 2-68 off his 17 overs.

Oswestry will have been pleased with their haul of 18 points in what was a dominant display that lifts them 39 points clear of the relegation zone, but will no doubt again reflect on what might have been.

Meanwhile, in the Birmingham & District Premier Cricket League Second XI Division Two, Oswestry’s second string picked up a superb win on the road at Newport.

Batting first, skipper Jonathan Davies starred with the bat as he scored a fine 70 in his side’s total of 251 all out inside 50 overs.

He was given able support by Josh Darley, who scored 45 opening up while Chris Cathrall’s 34 at number nine gave the innings much-needed momentum at the end.

Darley and Cathrall were at the vanguard of Oswestry’s attack as they took two wickets each to dismiss Newport’s top four, with openers Scott Gormley and Anthony Finch out for eight and a duck, respectively.

There was some resistance from Will Bowen (18), David Atyherton (23) and Dave Nock (31) but once they were out, Sam Davies came into the attack to rip out the middle order with four quick wickets and finished with 4-17 from 11 overs as he ripped through the home innings and then Floyd Owen finished the job.

All three sides face Bridgnorth on Saturday.